You and Your Dog: Have a Happy (Safe) Holiday Season

  • 01/02/2014
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The holidays are full of tradition that can lead to chaos if not arranged thoroughly. Stay conscious of holiday doggy dangers to keep celebrations fun and safe for you and your pooch. Avoid potential holiday hazards by maintaining a secure, but still festive, environment for your inquisitive canine. Always be informed on unsafe foods and seemingly harmless decorations that could pose a threat to your pup, and take the necessary actions to avoid any disasters that could arise. No need to stress, you and Rover can enjoy the holiday season with a few simple steps.

Food is a huge part of the holiday celebrations, but be aware of which edibles don't work well with your pup. Foods that are rich and high in fat, like gravy, can cause your pup to experience issues varying from an upset stomach to pancreatitis, which causes vomiting, pain, and dehydration. If the pancreatitis is serious enough it often requires hospitalization. Keep those holiday truffles far from your pooch; chocolate contains Theobromine, which can result in diarrhea, seizures, or even death if consume by your furry friend. The holidays are a huge time for homemade meals, but prepare raw meat, fish, and poultry away from Rover to avoid accidental consumption that could lead to E. coli. Don't share any fish, meat, or poultry bones with your pup, as these bones tend to splinter and could tear through your dog's intestinal tract. Instead, stick to rawhides and dog bones for your canine to chew on. If you leave dough to rise, be sure to stow it distant from your pooch since gobbling down yeast dough can produce painful gas in the digestive system and possibly even rupture your dog's stomach or intestines. Candy canes contain an artificial sweetener, xylitol, that can be very toxic to your pooch, and macadamia nuts are another toxic threat to dogs and should be kept out of your canine's reach. For safety measures, always put any extra food away immediately and pet-proof your garbage.

Everybody loves holiday decorations, but certain decors can be dangerous around an unmonitored dog. Put away all wrapping supplies after your gifts are packaged neatly to avoid any doggie disasters. While yarns, strings, and ribbons are great for adding a fancy touch to presents, they can result in intestinal problems that could be fatal if consumed by your pooch. Animals tend to be attracted to adhesives and glues, but these are toxic and should be stored carefully out of your dog's reach. Curious canines may snack on potpourri, which has oils that are toxic to dogs. If your holiday decorations include potpourri just be sure to place it somewhere that your pup can't get to. As always, lit candles shouldn't be left unattended to prevent burns and fires.

For those celebrating the Christmas season, take precautions when setting up your Christmas tree. Tinsel is a gorgeous touch to the Christmas tree, but if your pooch decides to ingest the shiny decoration it may cause blockages that could call for surgery to correct. Fake Christmas trees have become commonly popular, but for those insisting on a real Christmas tree just remember that the tree's needles can be toxic and even create mouth and stomach irritation. Watch your pup around the tree to ensure that no branches or fallen tree needles are being ingested. A Christmas tree wouldn't be complete without festive Christmas lights, although be sure to unplug the decorative lights when you aren't in the room and invest in pet-proof extension cords to deter any chewing that could cause electrical shock. If your canine is an avid chewer, spray the cords with bitter tasting products that are made to discourage chewing, and offer a rawhide or dog bone in place of off-limit cords. Ornaments are the icing on the cake when it comes to Christmas trees, but certain ornaments may propose danger if handled by your furry friend. Hang glass ornaments, along with sharp and small ornaments, more towards the top of the tree to steer clear of any unfortunate disasters. Save the lower half of your tree for ornaments that are larger and pose less of a threat for your puppy's safety. You should avoid using candy canes, gingerbread people, and popcorn strings as Christmas tree decorations; otherwise your curious canine may ingest the décor and suffer preventable consequences.

Once you have gone through the essential precautions, enjoy the holiday season with your happy hound.

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